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The Light and Matter series of introductory physics textbooks: 1 2 3 4 5 6 Newtonian Physics Conservation Laws Vibrations and Waves Electricity and Magnetism Optics The Modern Revolution in Physics
Fullerton. April 5. version 3. 2010 This book is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. or download the digital version free of charge from www. as listed in the photo credits. except for those photographs and drawings of which I am not the author.lightandmatter.org/licenses/by-sa/3. California www.0/. If you agree to the license.com.lightandmatter. such as the right to copy the book. http://creativecommons.com copyright 1999-2008 Benjamin Crowell rev.0. ISBN 0-9704670-4-4 . it grants you certain privileges that you would not otherwise have.
To Arnold Arons. .
Part 1 77 Circuits. Part 2 107 Fields of Force 125 Electromagnetism 145 Capacitance and Inductance 171 .Brief Contents 1 2 3 4 5 6 A Electricity and the Atom 13 The Nucleus 41 Circuits.
89. . . . . 2.—Superconductors. . . 41. 1. . . 71. 90.—Sizes and shapes of nuclei. . 73 75 1. Some phenomena explained with the planetary model. .— Direct proof that atoms existed. 39 3 Circuits. . Beta Decay 59 The solar neutrino problem. and everything else. . .—Making sense of the elements. .—Speed of currents and electrical signals. . . . 61. The proton. 92. . . . . . 24. . . 41 Resistance. . . . . . 2. . 43. . . . . 30. . 78. . light. . . .—Short circuits. 96. . 43. Becquerel’s discovery of radioactivity. 43. . . . . 26 30 2. . . 81 82 2 The Nucleus 2. . . 59. . .—We are stardust. 94.10 The Creation of the Elements . . . and gammas. . .—Conservation of charge. . 92. 87. 22. . .6 The Raisin Cookie Model of the Atom 34 Summary . .7 Fusion.5 The Electron .1 The Quest for the Atomic Force .—Resistors. 100 Problems . . 92. 95. .8 Nuclear Energy and Binding Energies 2. 56. . . .Contents 1 Electricity and the Atom 1. . Part 1 3. 79. . . . . 71. . 96. . .4 The Structure of Nuclei.3 Voltage . . .—Liquids and plasma. . betas. 1. 37 Problems . . . 98 Summary . . . 48. or of matter?. . 91. . . Problems . The volt unit. . .3 Atomic Number . .4 Resistance . . . 31. . .— 48 53 3.—Three kinds of “radiations”. . . .— Magnetic forces. . 3. . 93. 14 15 Isotopes. . . . Atomism. . 83.— Electric current. . . 20. .2 Circuits .2 The Planetary Model of the Atom . .—The path ahead.9 Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation . 72. . . 30. 2. . . 54. . .6 Applications of Calculus . . . .—The chemical elements. . . . 25.— Thomson’s experiments.—The neutron.—Were cathode rays a form of light. .4 Quantization of Charge.—Electrical forces involving neutral objects.—Voltmeter. . 18. . .—Artiﬁcial synthesis of heavy elements. .—The voltage concept in general. . . 3. . 78 3.1 Current . . . . . . . .3 Atoms .5 Current-Conducting Properties of Materials . . 87 3.— Lightbulb. . . 2. . . . .2 Charge. . 102 10 . 2. Creation of hydrogen and helium in the Big bang. . . Alpha Decay and Fission. . . . . . 1. 55. . Electricity and Magnetism . . . 91. . . . . 17.—The cathode ray as a subatomic particle: the electron.—Tracking down the nature of alphas. . . . . . . . 20 1.— Radium: a more intense source of radioactivity. . . . . . 56 Randomness in physics. . 63 64 67 71 Summary . . . .— Constant voltage throughout a conductor. . . . 33. . . . 82. . . . . 23. . .—Fuse. 94 45 Solids. . . . 18. . . . . . 15. . . . . . . . . .6 The Weak Nuclear Force. 18. . .5 The Strong Nuclear Force. . . .—Atoms. . 2. . Cathode rays. . .—Gases. . . . . . . Unity of all types of electricity. .1 Radioactivity . . .—Polygraph. . 53. 2. Charge.
. . 125 Time delays in forces exerted at a distance. 5. . 114 Summary . . 143 6 Electromagnetism 6. . . 181. 150. . . . . . . . . 156 Polarization. . . . . . . . . 127 Sources and sinks. .3 Voltage and Current .4 Circuits.—Gravitational waves. . 134. . . 6. . . . . 120 Problems . .5 Impedance. . . . .—The rl circuit. . . . A.4 Electromagnetic Waves . 129. .5 Calculating Energy In Fields . . . Magnetostatics. . 142 A.6 Electric Field of a Continuous Charge Distribution . . . . . .1 Why Fields? .— Alternative deﬁnition of the electric ﬁeld.—The electromagnetic spectrum. . . . . . . 108 4. 125. . . . . . . Summary . 151 Electromagnetism and relative motion. . 146. . . . . . . .2 The Gravitational Field . . . . . . . . . . .—The principle of induction. . . . 6. . . . .3 Induction. . 184 Problems . . . 157. . . . . 129. . 172. . . 158 162 164 165 A Capacitance and Inductance A.1 Schematics . Part 2 4. 5. . .2 Oscillations . 126. . .3 Series Resistances . . . . .5 Two or Three Dimensions.4 Decay . 132. . . . . . . . . 148. . . . . 136 5. . . . . . . . . . Problems . .6 Symmetry and Handedness . 140 Summary . . . . . . 147. . . . . . . . 187 Appendix 1: Exercises 188 Appendix 2: Photo Credits 203 Appendix 3: Hints and Solutions 205 11 .—Inductors. . . 182. . . . . 181 The rc circuit. 131 Deﬁnition.. . . . 177 A. . . . . . 131.2 Parallel Resistances and the Junction Rule . . . . . . . . 134. . . . . . . . 130. . . 156. . 5. . . . . . . . . . . . 138 5. . . . .—Dipoles. . 153. . 109 4.—Voltage related to electric ﬁeld. . . 148 5 Fields of Force 5. . . . 151.2 Calculating Magnetic Fields and Forces . . . . . . . 157. 6.—More evidence that ﬁelds of force are real: they carry energy. . 121 Problems . .4 Voltage for Nonuniform Fields . 171 Capacitors.—Force on a charge moving through a magnetic ﬁeld. . . .3 The Electric Field . . . . . . . . . .1 The Magnetic Field . . . . 6. 174 A. . . . .1 Capacitance and Inductance . 146 No magnetic monopoles. 172. . .—Deﬁnition of the magnetic ﬁeld. 6. . . . . . .—Superposition of ﬁelds.—Light is an electromagnetic wave.
But Newton realized that if science was to describe all of nature in a uniﬁed way. but in middle age he formed an intense relationship with a much younger man. he was packed oﬀ to boarding school when she remarried. What was radical about Newton’s analysis of motion was its universality: it succeeded in describing both the heavens and the earth with the same equations. the creation the modern science of mechanics. stars. a relationship that he terminated when he underwent a psychotic break. He himself never married. it was not enough to unite the human scale with the scale of the universe: he would not be satisﬁed until 13 . Newton’s lifelong obsession with alchemy may seem an embarrassment. Following his early scientiﬁc successes. however. he spent the rest of his professional life mostly in frustration over his inability to unlock the secrets of alchemy. his alchemical researches were naturally related to his investigations of force and motion. Why dwell on the sad side of his life? To the modern science educator. the microscope begins. The man being described is Isaac Newton.Chapter 1 Electricity and the Atom Where the telescope ends. Rejected by her as a boy. a distraction from his main achievement. but not the triumphant Newton of the standard textbook hagiography. To Newton. Which of the two has the grander view? Victor Hugo His father died during his mother’s pregnancy. and planets were fundamentally diﬀerent from earthly objects. moon. whereas previously it had been assumed that the sun.
and it would be unjust to criticize him for failing to change alchemy into modern chemistry as well. He was the last of the magicians. He realized that the many human-scale forces — friction. It would be hard to understand how gravity could be responsible for anything as vigorous as the beating of a heart or the explosion of gunpowder. sticky forces. Tape sticks to paper because the atoms in the tape attract the atoms in the paper. His next insight was no less brilliant for his inability to bring it to fruition.he ﬁt the microscopic universe into the picture as well. He was already convinced that the objects inhabiting the microworld were atoms. Here he got stuck. Alchemy labored under a tradition of secrecy and mysticism. Gravity. Newton went on to write a million words of alchemical notes ﬁlled with speculation about some other force. so how could he use it to explain the existence of both attractive and repulsive atomic forces? The gravitational force between objects of ordinary size is also extremely small. The time was not ripe. The microscope was a new invention. It was tempting to think that the atomic force was a form of gravity. and mathematically simple. he had reimagined both as stages on which the actors were objects (trees and houses. so it remained only to determine what kinds of forces they exerted on each other. perhaps a “divine force” or “vegetative force” that would for example be carried by the sperm 14 Chapter 1 Electricity and the Atom . fundamental. Although he was a ﬁrm believer in the existence of atoms. which is why we never notice cars and houses attracting us gravitationally. is always attractive. and it was cutting-edge science when Newton’s contemporary Hooke discovered that living things were made out of cells. and so on — must all simply be expressions of a more fundamental force acting between atoms. John Maynard Keynes Nevertheless it will be instructive to pick up Newton’s train of thought and see where it leads us with the beneﬁt of modern hindsight.1 The Quest for the Atomic Force Newton was not the ﬁrst of the age of reason. there was no more experimental evidence for their existence than there had been when the ancient Greeks ﬁrst posited them on purely philosophical grounds. however. In uniting the human and cosmic scales of existence. My house doesn’t fall to the center of the earth because its atoms repel the atoms of the dirt under it. Newton had already almost single-handedly transformed the fuzzyheaded ﬁeld of “natural philosophy” into something we would recognize as the modern science of physics. planets and stars) that interacted through attractions and repulsions. It should not surprise us that Newton failed. 1. which he knew to be universal. the normal forces that keep objects from occupying the same space.
Two types of charge We can easily collect reams of data on electrical forces between diﬀerent substances that have been charged in diﬀerent ways. a / Four pieces of tape are prepared. for instance when clothes rub against each other in the dryer. a/2. 1. as will the two bottom pieces. electrical forces make more sense than gravity as candidates for the fundamental force between atoms. although we speak colloquially of “charging” a battery. and then put two more pieces on top of them. Electric forces are often observed between objects that have been prepared by rubbing (or other surface interactions). respond more strongly to electrical preparation than others. Although some substances. A bottom piece will attract a top piece. For example. Furthermore. and plastic. There is no such thing as a “nonelectric” substance. We ﬁnd for example that cat fur prepared by rubbing against rabbit fur will attract glass that has been rubbed on silk. we now know enough to investigate a diﬀerent suspect as a candidate for the atomic force: electricity. Section 1. Luckily. the interaction can be either repulsive. because we have observed that they can be either attractive or repulsive. a/3.to the egg. as described in the text. you may easily verify that a battery has no charge in the technical sense. the other force that we already know to be fundamental: • Electrical forces are universal. it does not exert any electrical force on a piece of tape that has been prepared as described in the previous section. such as fur. This is to be distinguished from the common usage. How can we make any sense of all this information? A vast simpliﬁcation is achieved by noting that there are really only two types of charge. e. 1. That is.2 Charge. like the gravitational force. A useful example is shown in ﬁgure a/1: stick two pieces of tape on a tabletop. Electricity and Magnetism Charge “Charge” is the technical term used to indicate that an object has been prepared so as to participate in electrical forces. all matter participates in electrical forces to some degree. 2.g. where r is the center-to-center distance between them.. in which the term is used indiscriminately for anything electrical. rubber.2 Charge. and then separate them. • Experiments show that the electrical force. however. or attractive. the electrical force between two spheres is proportional to 1/r2 . is an inverse square force. Electrical forces like these are similar in certain ways to gravity. Depending on which combination is tested. 3. The two top pieces will then repel each other. Matter is both inherently gravitational and inherently electrical. Electricity and Magnetism 15 . Lift each pair from the table.
Benjamin Franklin decided to describe the one we’ve been calling “A” as negative. Since type A repels anything that type B attracts. each type can come in diﬀerent amounts. but the amounts are equal and they are distributed in the same way throughout it. If A displays an attraction with some charged object. one with each type of charge. The coulomb Although there are only two types of charge. but it really doesn’t matter as long as everyone is 16 Chapter 1 Electricity and the Atom . attracting things A attracts and repelling those it repels. The rest of this chapter ﬂeshes out this model and discusses how these mysterious particles can be understood as being internal parts of atoms. Various interpretations of this are possible. it makes sense to label them using positive and negative signs. very small. and glass rubbed on silk for type B. Rubbing objects together results in the transfer of some of these particles from one object to the other. then the other ends up with an equal amount of the other type. The numerical factor in the deﬁnition is historical in origin.e. If one object acquires a certain amount of one type of charge. and is not worth memorizing.Suppose we pick cat fur rubbed on rabbit fur as a representative of type A. deﬁned as follows: One Coulomb (C) is the amount of charge such that a force of 9. The notation for an amount of charge is q. displaying the same attractions and repulsions as B. It is entirely arbitrary which type of charge to call negative and which to call positive. objects. A and B. and vice versa. i. but the simplest is that the basic building blocks of matter come in two ﬂavors. The metric unit of charge is the coulomb (rhymes with “drool on”). because otherwise diﬀerent parts of them would be at diﬀerent distances from each other. and vice-versa. then B is guaranteed to undergo repulsion with it. A model of two types of charged particles Experiments show that all the methods of rubbing or otherwise charging objects involve two objects. In this model. always display opposite interactions.” Any object electriﬁed by any method is either A-like.0 × 109 N occurs between two pointlike objects with charges of 1 C separated by a distance of 1 m.. and both of them end up getting charged. the object will make a total force of zero on any other object. or B-like. an object that has not been electrically prepared may actually possesses a great deal of both types of charge. The deﬁnition is stated for pointlike. We will now ﬁnd that there is no “type C. Use of positive and negative signs for charge Because the two types of charge tend to cancel out each other’s forces. The two types. and to discuss the total charge of an object.
Conservation of charge seems natural in our model in which matter is made of positive and negative particles. and gravitational forces are never repulsive. there is an electrical equivalent of the shell theorem: the electrical forces exerted externally by a uniformly charged spherical shell are the same as if all the charge was concentrated at its center. the total amount of charge is a constant. An object with a total charge of zero (equal amounts of both types) is referred to as electrically neutral. attractive and repulsive. For instance.0 × 109 N·m2 /C2 . p. Note that Coulomb’s law is closely analogous to Newton’s law of gravity. where the magnitude of the force is Gm1 m2 /r2 . and repulsive if they have the same sign. and the forces exerted internally are zero. If the charge on each particle is a ﬁxed property of that type of particle. self-check A Criticize the following statement: “There are two types of charge. not two. we can recycle a great deal of our knowledge of gravitational forces. while the other acquires an equal amount of the other type. and if the particles themselves can be neither created nor destroyed.consistent with everyone else.9999999999999998 to 2. This is why we observe that rubbing initially uncharged substances together always has the result that one gains a certain amount of one type of charge. then conservation of charge is inevitable. showing that the exponent is in the range from 1. r2 where the constant k equals 9. Clever modern techniques have allowed the 1/r2 form of Coulomb’s law to be tested to incredible accuracy. Electricity and Magnetism 17 .2 Charge. 205 Coulomb’s law A large body of experimental observations can be summarized as follows: Coulomb’s law: The magnitude of the force acting between pointlike charged objects at a center-to-center distance r is given by the equation |q1 ||q2 | |F| = k . except that there is only one type of mass. Section 1. The force is attractive if the charges are of diﬀerent signs. Conservation of charge An even more fundamental reason for using positive and negative signs for electrical charge is that experiments show that charge is conserved according to this deﬁnition: in any closed system. Because of this close analogy between the two types of forces.” Answer.0000000000000002.
which we will be studying in this chapter. you can learn to use an ammeter to measure the ﬂow. For this reason. self-check B What would have happened if the tape was negatively charged? Answer. the ﬂavor of the second half of your physics education is dramatically diﬀerent. and much cheaper. an example of which is the ones that make your stereo speakers vibrate. Permanent magnets. The attraction is between the paper and the tape is now stronger than the repulsion. the actors on the stage of electricity and magnetism are invisible phenomena alien to our everyday experience. c / The paper has zero total charge. and they leap up to it. and inclined planes of mechanics. (Certain other substances also work. Not so! We are about to pick up the historical trail that leads directly to the cutting-edge physics research you read about in the newspaper. an electrically charged object can attract objects that are uncharged. consist of coils of wire through which electric charge ﬂows. but we need to develop a few simple ideas about magnetism now because magnetic forces are used in the experiments and techniques we come to next.) The other type of magnet. Magnetic forces A detailed mathematical treatment of magnetism won’t come until much later in this book. Mobile particles in the paper will respond to the tape’s forces. focusing much more on experiments and techniques. How is this possible? The key is that even though each piece of paper has a total charge of zero. but iron is the cheapest and most common. are made of iron or substances like steel that contain iron atoms. c. p. Unlike the pulleys. Even though you will never actually see charge moving through a wire. but it does have charged particles in it that can move. 205 b / A charged piece of tape attracts uncharged pieces of paper from a distance. because the negatively charged end is closer to the tape. causing one end of the paper to become negatively charged and the other to become positive. Students also tend to get the impression from their ﬁrst semester of physics that it is a dead science.Electrical forces involving neutral objects As shown in ﬁgure b. such as the ones on your refrigerator. The atom-smashing experiments that began around 1900. it has at least some charged particles in it that have some freedom to move. blocks. simpler. Suppose that the tape is positively charged. Both types of magnets are able to attract iron that has not been 18 Chapter 1 Electricity and the Atom . were not that diﬀerent from the ones of the year 2000 — just smaller. The path ahead We have begun to encounter complex electrical behavior that we would never have realized was occurring just from the evidence of our eyes. Everyday magnets come in two general types.
why can’t we infer that their charges are +1 and −1 C? What further observations would we need to do in order to prove this? Section 1. and vice-versa. The coiled wire has moving charges in it because we force charge to ﬂow. (What makes a magnetized piece of iron diﬀerent from a block of wood is that the motion of the charge in the wood is random rather than organized. The mathematics of magnetism is signiﬁcantly more complex than the Coulomb force law for electricity. so the Earth contains moving charge. it roils and churns. The needle of a magnetic compass is itself a small permanent magnet. Electricity and Magnetism 19 . As the beam comes from the back of the tube to the front. and like a pot of boiling water. which is why we will wait until chapter 6 before delving deeply into it. But magnetic forces cannot be used to get the beam up to speed in the ﬁrst place.magnetically prepared.2 Charge. A single insight makes these apparently complex phenomena much simpler to understand: magnetic forces are interactions between moving charges. To make a drastic oversimpliﬁcation. their magnetic force on it is directly proportional to its velocity. not forward along it. but in this case the charges that naturally swirl around inside the iron. Magnetic forces are used to steer the beam. up-down and left-right forces are needed for steering. A television tube example 2 A TV picture is painted by a stream of electrons coming from the back of the tube to the front. electric charge can get carried along with the churning motion. occurring in addition to the electric forces. A magnetic compass example 1 The Earth is molten inside. Suppose a permanent magnet is brought near a magnet of the coiledwire type. causing the compass needle to twist around and point north. The beam scans across the whole surface of the tube like a reader scanning a page of a book.) The moving charges in the coiled-wire magnet exert a force on the moving charges in the permanent magnet. The permanent magnet also has moving charges in it. for instance the door of the refrigerator. since they can only push perpendicular to the electrons’ direction of motion. (2) The magnetic force on a moving charged particle is always perpendicular to the direction the particle is moving. The moving charge inside the earth interacts magnetically with the moving charge inside the compass needle. Discussion Questions A If the electrical attraction between two pointlike objects at a distance of 1 m is 9×109 N. Two simple facts will suﬃce for now: (1) If a charged particle is moving in a region of space near where other charged particles are also moving.
B An electrically charged piece of tape will be attracted to your hand. no more and no less.J. fermenting beer. or both? 1. their shapes. and an atom is proudly pictured on one of their coins. red or grey in color according to taste. when their best thinkers came up with concepts like democracy and atoms. (Thomson called them “electrons. if you mix 1 kg of water with 1 kg of dirt. you get exactly 2 kg of mud. this is nothing like a proof that atoms exist. their weights. hard fellow.”) The “unsplittable” was splittable after all. If atoms did exist. because all these processes could be interpreted as mixing and rearranging atoms. the name was shown to be inappropriate in 1897 when physicist J. which means “unsplittable. Thomson proved experimentally that atoms had even smaller things inside them.” Subtracting even more cruelly from Greek glory. What happened to the atom concept in the intervening two thousand years? Educated people continued to discuss the idea. and occupied by Turkey until recently. air and ﬁre. without changing the total number of atoms. Rutherford Atomism The Greeks have been kicked around a lot in the last couple of millennia: dominated by the Romans. what types of atoms were there. bullied during the crusades by warlords going to and from the Holy Land. But that’s getting ahead of our story. The same is true for the a variety of processes such as freezing of water. One fact that was readily explained was conservation of mass. The ancients decided that there were four types of atoms. which could be extracted. Greece is democratic again after a period of military dictatorship. For example. That’s why it hurts me to have to say that the ancient Greek hypothesis that matter is made of atoms was pure guesswork. If you believed in atoms. It’s no wonder they prefer to remember their salad days. and the 18th-century revival of the atom concept by Dalton owed little to the Greeks other than the name.3 Atoms I was brought up to look at the atom as a nice. There was no real experimental evidence for atoms. Still. Does that allow us to tell whether the mobile charged particles in your hand are positive or negative. and what distinguished the diﬀerent types from each other? Was it their sizes. and those who were in favor of it could often use it to give plausible explanations for various facts and phenomena. water. or pulverizing sandstone. the most popular view was that 20 Chapter 1 Electricity and the Atom . conservation of mass made perfect sense. earth. or some other quality? The chasm between the ancient and modern atomisms becomes evident when we consider the wild speculations that existed on these issues until the present century.
” The glib modern phrase more or less assumes the atomic explanation of digestion. a vacuum. hence water’s ability to ﬂow smoothly. scholasticism). and premodern cultures would typically believe that eating allowed you to extract some kind of “life force” from the food. Galileo and Newton’s espousal of atomism was an act of rebellion. Although the historical information given in most science textbooks about Galileo represents his run-in with the Inquisition as turning on the issue of whether the earth moves.e. some historians believe his punishment had more to do with the perception that his advocacy of atomism subverted transubstantiation. belief in atomism served as a badge of nonconformity for scientists. Pope Urban’s military problems.tions required for your own body tissues.” But Aristotle and his scholastic successors believed that there could be no such thing as empty space. which in their view ascribed too many occult properties and “purposes” to objects. If you ask modern people this question. the Aristotelian explanation for why a rock would fall to earth was that it was its “nature” or “purpose” to come to rest on the ground. Atomism was perceived as contradicting transubstantiation..) The drastically diﬀerent modern understanding of the structure of atoms was achieved in the course of the revolutionary decade stretching 1895 to 1905. Fire atoms had sharp points. Are you now or have you ever been an atomist? “You are what you eat. For instance. ended up getting the atomists in big trouble with the Church. a way of asserting a preference for natural rather than supernatural interpreta. The main purpose of this chapter is to describe those momentous experiments. Water atoms were spherical. They were anxious to drive a stake through the heart of Aristotelian physics (and its embellished. (Other issues in the complex situation were Galileo’s confrontational style. (There was no concept of temperature until thousands of years later. The more progressive medieval and renaissance scientists loved this kind of explanation. After all. the doctrine of transubstantiation asserts that the blessing of the eucharistic bread and wine literally transforms it into the blood and ﬂesh of Christ. i. Churchfriendly version. The food was made of atoms. The seemingly innocent attempt to explain digestion naturalistically. Myths abound to the effect that abstract qualities such as bravery or ritual impurity can enter your body via the food you eat. The problem was that the Church’s most important sacrament involves eating bread and wine and thereby receiving the supernatural effect of forgiveness of sin. which was why ﬁre hurt when it touched one’s skin. digestion was pretty mysterious in ancient times. they will probably reply “nothing” or “empty space. however.tions of phenomena.they were distinguished by their shapes. and rumors that the stupid character in Galileo’s dialogues was meant to be the Pope. That was not an unreasonable Section 1. and when you digested it you were simply extracting some atoms from it and rearranging them into the combina. In contrast to these supernatural points of view. like later generations’ adoption of Darwinism or Marxism.3 Atoms 21 .) For a long time. since atomism seemed to deny that the blessing could change the nature of the atoms. Another conﬂict between scholasticism and atomism came from the question of what was between the atoms. In connection with this ritual. the ancient atomists had an entirely naturalistic interpretation of digestion.
” “Hertzian waves. or even to ignore its existence completely.” These were the types of observations that ended up telling us that we know about matter. transporting its mass and kinetic energy with it.point of view. this was not a trivial issue of deﬁnitions. Atoms can’t occupy the same space as other atoms. and everything else Although I tend to ridicule ancient Greek philosophers like Aristotle.” “cathode rays. Matter is conserved. Let’s bring ourselves up to the level of classiﬁcation of phenomena employed by physicists in the year 1900. When a phenomenon occurs that does not immediately present itself as one of these. but ﬁerce controversies ensued over whether these were themselves forms of matter. For the scientists of the early 1900s who were trying to investigate atoms. If you ask someone to tell you brieﬂy about atoms. the nonmaterial concept of force is being mentally categorized as if it was a physical substance. of which the only familiar example today is the picture tube of a TV. because air tends to rush in to any space you open up. can have kinetic energy. They recognized three categories: • Matter has mass. physics teachers shudder at students’ statements that “the dynamite exploded. In short order. and can travel through a vacuum.” and “N-rays. light. The statement that “winding the clock stores motion in the spring” is a miscategorization of electrical energy as a form of motion. There was a new gizmo called the vacuum tube.” but we’ve now seen that it’s far from obvious which “everything” this statement would properly refer to. there is a strong tendency to conceptualize it as one or the other. and it wasn’t until the renaissance that people ﬁgured out how to make a vacuum. the likely response is that “everything is made of atoms. The human brain seems to naturally make a distinction between two types of physical phenomena: objects and motion of objects. If you read Aristotle’s writings on physics (or just skim them. For instance. the most striking thing is how careful he is about classifying phenomena and analyzing relationships among phenomena. and force came out of it in all directions. An example of ignoring the existence of a phenomenon altogether can be elicited by asking people why we need lamps.” ignores the necessary role of light coming into our eyes from the things being illuminated. which is all I’ve done). let’s take a moment to praise him for something. Atoms. so 22 Chapter 1 Electricity and the Atom . electrical tinkerers had discovered a whole ﬂock of new phenomena that occurred in and around vacuum tubes.” In these examples. both in the sense of conservation of mass and conservation of the number of atoms of each element. and given them picturesque names like “x-rays. The typical response that “the lamp illuminates the room so we can see things.
on a standard scale in which the mass of hydrogen is very close to 1.. e. deﬂected. that of converting lead into gold. or aﬀected in any other way. Section 1. velocity. i. A typical technique would be to measure how many grams of sodium (Na) would combine with one gram of chlorine (Cl) to make salt (NaCl). (This assumes you’ve already decided based on other evidence that salt consisted of equal numbers of Na and Cl atoms. and also because they lacked the necessary techniques or the techniques were the province of laborers with low social status. (The most celebrated challenge facing the alchemists. mHe = 3. glass..) By 1900. are close to integers. chemists had done a reasonably good job of ﬁnding out what the elements were. a pure substance made out of nothing but that type of atom. were known only to within a few orders of magnitude based on indirect evidence. Light can penetrate certain kinds of matter. so a substance like milk could not possibly be elemental. For each type of atom. Note how some. and plenty of physicists and chemists denied that individual atoms were anything more than convenient symbols. is one we now know to be impossible. since lead and gold are both elements. and force. in which the atoms are packed together closely. • The third category is everything that doesn’t ﬁt the deﬁnition of light or matter.a convenient way to prove something is not a form of matter is to show that it can pass through a solid material.e. and by a tendency toward mysticism and secrecy. and can travel through a vacuum. since churning it vigorously causes it to split up into two separate substances: butter and whey. time. The ancients presumably did not do it because observation was not universally agreed on as the right way to answer questions about nature. Two light beams can penetrate through each other and emerge from the collision without being weakened. but not all. Alchemists were hindered by atomism’s reputation for subversiveness.g. because it can be made by combining two substances: iron and oxygen. This catch-all category includes. there should be a corresponding element. They also had determined the ratios of the diﬀerent atoms’ masses fairly accurately.) The masses of individual atoms. • Light has no mass. however. always has energy. for example. The chemical elements How would one ﬁnd out what types of atoms there were? Today. heat.60 mH d / Examples of masses of atoms compared to that of hydrogen. Similarly. such as smiths and miners. Despite its apparent reasonableness. no such program was carried out until the eighteenth century. Atoms are supposed to be unsplittable.01 mH mSc = 44. transporting its energy with it. rust could not be an element. it doesn’t seem like it should have been very diﬃcult to work out an experimental program to classify the types of atoms. The following table gives the atomic masses of all the elements.0. as opposed to the mass ratios.97 mH mNe = 20.3 Atoms 23 .
described the elements as extending “before us as stretched the wide Atlantic before the gaze of Columbus.5 200.2 39.0 40.0 190.2 106.1 140.9 173. the modern scientist’s aesthetic sense rebels against complication. with the mass of a hydrogen atom being determined to be about 1. William Crookes.0 19.0 10. which no man has yet been able to solve. One contemporary observer.0 92. A few excitable types began speculating that hydrogen was the basic building block.3 Eu F Fe Ga Gd Ge H He Hf Hg Ho In Ir K Kr La Li Lu Mg Mn 152.9 175.3 88.5 58. before their parade was rained on by more accurate measurements. and that the heavier elements were made of clusters of hydrogen.8 Sc Se Si Sn Sr Ta Tb Te Ti Tl Tm U V W Xe Y Yb Zn Zr 45.9 158.1 140. He wrote the names of all the elements on cards and began arranging them in diﬀerent ways on his desk.0 4.5 186.9 127.0 79.2 58.9 14.0 132.5 162.2 102.1 32.0 65.9 12.9 6. and even the ones that were close to being integer multiples were oﬀ by one percent or so.6 1.0 24. preparing his lectures in 1869.1 83.2 Making sense of the elements As the information accumulated. This hodgepodge of elements was an embarrassment.4 91.9 114. Going across each row.7 157. The row-and-column scheme he came up with is essentially our modern periodic table.0 28.0 55.1 35.9 204.3 9.0 39.2 20.9 183. Ag Al Ar As Au B Ba Be Bi Br C Ca Ce Cl Co Cr Cs Cu Dy Er 107.2 72.” It wasn’t long before people started recognizing that many atoms’ masses were nearly integer multiples of the mass of hydrogen.8 138.5 167.3 54.1 121. the lightest element.7 × 10−27 kg. taunting and murmuring strange riddles. which showed that not all of the elements had atomic masses that were near integer multiples of hydrogen.0 23.9 101. It wasn’t long.0 209.9 Mo N Na Nb Nd Ne Ni O Os P Pb Pd Pt Pr Rb Re Rh Ru S Sb 95. however.9 74.4 195.4 168.9 85. mocking.8 69. wanted to ﬁnd some way to organize his knowledge for his students to make it more understandable.9 52.7 16.2 31. this almost always resulted in placing the atoms in sequence 24 Chapter 1 Electricity and the Atom .8 137. the challenge was to ﬁnd a way of systematizing it. The columns of the modern version represent groups of elements with similar chemical properties.0 79.0 207.9 197.6 47. but was eventually tied down. and each row is more massive than the one above it.0 178. trying to ﬁnd an arrangement that would make sense of the muddle.6 164.9 63.7 87.9 238 50.6 180.9 144.The absolute calibration of the whole scale was only very roughly known for a long time.8 131.9 27.8 192. Chemistry professor Dmitri Mendeleev.1 118.
observed tiny grains of pollen in a drop of water on a microscope slide. and found that they jumped around randomly for Section 1. A botanist named Brown. Elements in the same column have similar chemical properties. in addition to the motion of any object as a whole. since the table could be ﬂipped in various ways. but Mendeleev had to put iodine after tellurium so that it would lie in a column with chemically similar elements.3 Atoms 25 . It wasn’t until generations after the kinetic theory of heat was developed that it was demonstrated conclusively that atoms really existed and that they participated in continuous motion that never died out. after all. such as masses. and densities. discussed in section 2. using a microscope that was state of the art in 1827. What made the system signiﬁcant was its predictive value. To make his table work. scandium and germanium) were discovered and found to have very nearly the properties he had predicted. by weight as well. But many conservatives were not convinced that atoms really existed. obscure observations were reexamined by an unknown Swiss patent clerk named Albert Einstein. Nobody had ever seen one. there is an invisible type of motion all around us: the random motion of atoms within each object. iodine atoms are lighter than tellurium. There were three places where Mendeleev had to leave gaps in his checkerboard to keep chemically similar elements in the same column. Direct proof that atoms existed The success of the kinetic theory of heat was taken as strong evidence that. he had to deviate from ordering the elements strictly by mass. For instance.3. He predicted that elements would exist to ﬁll these gaps. were not known in Mendeleev’s time. Mendeleev’s professional stock skyrocketed when his three elements (later named gallium.e / A modern periodic table. The modern atomic numbers. The smoking gun to prove atoms were more than mathematical abstractions came when some old. and extrapolated or interpolated from other elements in the same column to predict their numerical properties. One thing that Mendeleev’s table made clear was that mass was not the basic property that distinguished atoms of diﬀerent elements. boiling points.
and its existence was ﬁled away as a quaint and thoroughly unimportant fact. and if the charged-particle model of electricity was right. After all the millennia of speculation about atoms.4 Quantization of Charge Proving that atoms actually existed was a big accomplishment. Einstein’s calculations dispelled all doubt. or vice versa? B How could one test Einstein’s interpretation of Brownian motion by observing it at different temperatures? 1. really just a nuisance for the microscopist. Strong support for the charged-particle model came from a 1911 experiment by physicist Robert Millikan at the University of Chicago. g / A simpliﬁed diagram Millikan’s apparatus. The phenomenon came to be referred to as Brownian motion. kicking it in random directions.no apparent reason. at last there was solid proof. the charge might be split up among so many minuscule liquid drops that a single drop might have a total charge f/A young Robert Millikan. and were colliding with the particle all the time. Wondering at ﬁrst if the pollen he’d assumed to be dead was actually alive. Are these particles atoms? Parts of atoms? Particles that are entirely separate from atoms? It is perhaps premature to attempt to answer these questions without any conclusive evidence in favor of the charged-particle model of electricity. since the turbulent ﬂow of air tends to break them up. and in fact most of them are even more microscopic than that. The same results would occur with any small grain or particle suspended in a liquid. and yet we know that matter is inherently electrical. The droplets emerging from the pinhole must be smaller than the pinhole. It wasn’t until 1906 that Einstein found the correct interpretation for Brown’s observation: the water molecules were in continuous random motion. and we have been successful in interpreting certain electrical phenomena in terms of mobile positively and negatively charged particles. and found that the soot particles also moved around. but demonstrating their existence was diﬀerent from understanding their properties. Consider a jet of droplets of perfume or some other liquid made by blowing it through a tiny pinhole. Note that the Brown-Einstein observations had nothing at all to do with electricity. (Einstein received the Nobel Prize not for his theory of relativity but for his papers on Brownian motion and the photoelectric eﬀect. Millikan reasoned that the droplets would acquire a little bit of electric charge as they rubbed against the channel through which they emerged. of 26 Chapter 1 Electricity and the Atom .) Discussion Questions A How could knowledge of the size of an individual aluminum atom be used to infer an estimate of its mass. he tried looking at particles of soot. since he was able to make accurate predictions of things like the average distance traveled by the particle in a certain amount of time.
with no charge on the plates. Next Millikan charged the metal plates. Millikan’s ingenious apparatus. g. The force of air drag on a slowly moving sphere had already been found by experiment to be bvr2 . pulling it up. Setting the total force equal to zero when the drop is at terminal velocity gives bvr2 − mg = 0 . The more charge the drop had. 3 πr Everything in these equations can be measured directly except for m and r. adjusting the amount of charge so as to exactly counteract gravity and levitate the drop. consisted of two metal plates. plus the ability to perform vector addition of all the forces being exerted on the drop by all the charges on the plate. and setting the known density of oil equal to the drop’s mass divided by its volume gives a second equation. the stronger the electrical forces on it would be. expressing this relationship using Coulomb’s law would have been impractical. First. which could be electrically charged as needed. he would determine the drop’s mass by letting it fall through the air and measuring its terminal velocity. the drop being examined happened to have a total charge that was negative. or an excess of two negative ones on another. inserting between Section 1. the velocity at which the force of air friction canceled out the force of gravity. and selected one drop through a microscope for study.) The amount of charge on the plates required to levitate the charged drop gave Millikan a handle on the amount of charge the drop carried. where b was a constant. i. so these are two equations in two unknowns..4 Quantization of Charge 27 . If. Millikan made use of the fact that the electrical force experienced by a pointlike charged object at a certain point in space is proportional to its charge. and the less charge would have to be put on the plates to do the trick. and negative charge on the bottom plate would repel it.e. F = constant q . (Theoretically only one plate would be necessary. then positive charge put on the top plate would attract it. m ρ= 4 3 . Unfortunately. pushing it up. Instead. this constant could be determined for instance by discarding the oil drop.amounting to an excess of only a few charged particles — perhaps an excess of one positive particle on a certain drop. With a given amount of charge on the plates. He sprayed a cloud of oil droplets into the space between the plates. because it would require a perfect knowledge of how the charge was distributed on each plate. which can be solved in order to determine how big the drop is. but in practice a two-plate arrangement like this gave electrical forces that were more uniform in strength throughout the space where the oil drops were. for instance.
are exact multiples of one deﬁnite.the plates a larger and more easily handled object with a known charge on it. consisting. −2.93 (Millikan took data on both negatively and positively charged drops. . allowing for the random errors present in the experiment. of the correctness of the view advanced many years ago and supported by evidence from many sources that all electrical charges.02 −18 Table h shows a few of the results from Millikan’s 1911 paper. p. he had provided direct evidence for the chargedparticle model of electricity and against models in which electricity was described as some sort of ﬂuid. 1. In this language. dividing by this constant gives numbers that are essentially integers. self-check C Is money quantized? What is the quantum of money? 205 Answer.) The amount q of force on the actual oil drop had to equal mg. we would say that Millikan discovered that charge is quantized. For instance.) Even a quick look at the data leads to the suspicion that the charges are not simply a series of random numbers. in fact. so these numbers are all negative. Millikan states in his paper that these results were a . the charge of the drop could then be found based on its −1. . In other words.60 × 10−19 C. however produced.02 −18 previously determined mass. and measuring the force with conventional methods. or atoms of electricity. 28 Chapter 1 Electricity and the Atom . that an electrical charge instead of being spread uniformly over the charged surface has a deﬁnite granular structure. but the concept is the same. since it was just /(1. The basic charge is notated e. charged drops. elementary electrical charge. In the second column.773 × 10 −16. . and the modern value is e = 1. .987 × 10 −6.64 −19 C) enough to levitate it.970 × 10 −12. The charge e is referred to as the quantum of charge. peppered over the surface of the charged body. and cannot have any of the values between those. h / A few samples of Millikan’s but in his paper he gave only a sample of his data on negatively data. . .64×10−19 C. the second charge is almost exactly equal to half the ﬁrst one. all precisely alike. or in other words. Millikan explained the observed charges as all being integer multiples of a single number. and once the calibration constant had been q (C) ×10 −18 determined. The word “quantized ” is used in physics to describe a quantity that can only have certain numerical values. −0. specks. of . direct and tangible demonstration . (Millikan actually used a slightly diﬀerent set of techniques for determining the constant.
and they don’t want the public to realize how human and imperfect they can be. using the giraffe’s neck to discuss the nonheritability of acquired traits. (Millikan himself was an educational reformer.” and “bad run. 54-60). and he did throw out data. throw out. His technique was difﬁcult and painstaking to perform. he stated categorically that every single oil drop observed had had a charge that was a multiple of e. Millikan is nevertheless not guilty of fraud when we take that sentence in context: Millikan stated that he never threw out any data. But his notebooks are replete with notations such as “beautiful data. which have been preserved. Maybe they are afraid students will reason that fudging data is OK. show that the data were far less perfect than he claimed in his published scientiﬁc papers. In his publications. it might not have been in a pseudo-scientiﬁc ﬁeld like political science. he was guilty of scientiﬁc fraud. But falsifying history in the name of encouraging truthfulness is more than a little ironic. English teachers don’t edit Shakespeare’s tragedies so that the bad characters are always punished and the good ones never suffer! Another possible explanation is simply a lack of originality. and later authors simply followed suit. appears to have earned his Nobel Prize by advocating a correct position with dishonest descriptions of his data. keep. but the lesson I would take away is that although the episode may reduce our conﬁdence in Millikan.) Note added September 2002 Several years after I wrote this historical digression. and wrote a series of textbooks that were of much higher quality than others of his era. Biologist Stephen Jay Gould has written an essay tracing an example of how authors of biology textbooks tend to follow a certain traditional treatment of a topic.” Millikan. then. Yet another interpretation is that scientists derive status from their popular images as impartial searchers after the truth. objective reasons for throwing out the data. with no Exceptions or omissions. The correct result was eventually recognized.4 Quantization of Charge 29 . since Millikan got the Nobel Prize for it. I came across an interesting defense of Millikan by David Goodstein (American Scientist. pp. it should deepen our faith in science.A historical note on Millikan’s fraud Very few undergraduate physics textbooks mention the well-documented fact that although Millikan’s conclusions were correct. Jan-Feb 2001. and his original notebooks. Why do textbook authors fail to mention Millikan’s fraud? It may be that they think students are too unsophisticated to correctly evaluate the implications of the fact that scientiﬁc fraud has sometimes existed and even been rewarded by the scientiﬁc establishment. Section 1. it’s possible that some venerated textbook was uncritical of Millikan’s fraud. but he had good. The Millikan affair will probably remain controversial among historians. Goodstein argues that although Millikan wrote a sentence in his paper that was a lie.
where there is more room to spread out than there is in the wire.1. If. Figure i shows the light-emitting stream that was observed. and spend several hours huﬃng and puﬃng away at the pump’s hand crank to get a good vacuum inside. you would put a large amount of positive charge on one wire and a large amount of negative charge on the other. whatever it was. This spreading-out process would result in nearly all the charge ending up in the electrodes. The rays were therefore christened “cathode rays. while you were still pumping on the tube. Metals have the property of letting charge move through them easily. or of matter? Were cathode rays a form of light. To produce it. Finally. a hole was made in the anode.5 The Electron Cathode rays Nineteenth-century physicists spent a lot of time trying to come up with wild. you would hook it up to a vacuum pump.) Were cathode rays a form of light. so the charge deposited on one of the wires would quickly spread out because of the repulsion of each part of it for every other part. you ﬁrst had to hire a good glassblower and ﬁnd a good vacuum pump. One such parlor trick was the cathode ray. Then. was coming from the cathode. the light-versus-matter issue turned into a controversy along nationalistic lines. i / Cathode rays a vacuum tube. Drilling a hole in the cathode. The supporters of the material interpretation imagined the rays as consisting of a stream of atoms ripped from the substance of the cathode.” (The terminology is still used today in the term “cathode ray tube” or “CRT” for the picture tube of a TV or computer monitor. For obscure historical reasons a negative electrode is called a cathode and a positive one is an anode. the glassblower would melt the glass and seal the whole thing shut. with the Germans advocating light and the English holding out for matter. The best experiments of this kind were the ones that made big sparks or pretty colors of light. the beam would extend on through the hole until it hit the glass. however would not result in any beam coming out on the left side. Experiments showed that cathode rays could penetrate at least some small thickness of matter. The glassblower would create a hollow tube and embed two pieces of metal in it. as shown in this ﬁgure. but as their scientiﬁc importance became more apparent. 30 Chapter 1 Electricity and the Atom . random ways to play with electricity. which were connected to the outside via metal wires passing through the glass. Before letting him seal up the whole tube. called the electrodes. and this indicated that the stuﬀ. observed in One of our deﬁning characteristics of matter is that material objects cannot pass through each other. or matter? At ﬁrst no one really cared what they were.
which was strong evidence that they were material.J. This shows that waves do not necessarily travel in straight lines. When the cathode ray tube is in operation. The sound waves do not emerge from the other end of the tube as a focused beam. he concluded that they were a form of matter. pointed to the contrary conclusion. very large amounts of charge were being used. so what was really needed was a determination of whether the rays had mass and weight. and from the combination of Thomson’s and Millikan’s results one could therefore determine the mass of a single cathode ray particle. Not only that. Instead. By turning them slightly oﬀ course with electrical forces. j / J. Thomson in the lab. These observations were inconclusive. it was reasonable to assume that the charge of one such particle equaled minus one fundamental charge. negatively charged particles.J. (Although electrically charged particles do not normally leap across a gap of vacuum. If the cathode rays carried charge. If a piece of metal foil in the shape of a star or a cross was placed in the way of the cathode ray. and measured the ratio of their mass to their charge. and one distinguishing property of waves is demonstrated by speaking into one end of a paper towel roll. so the forces were unusually intense. Section 1. The rays would overshoot the anode because of their momentum. Nobody could think of a good way to weigh cathode rays. Thomson at Cambridge carried out a series of deﬁnitive experiments on cathode rays around the year 1897.such as a metal foil a tenth of a millimeter thick. k. q = −e. When Millikan published his results fourteen years later. The trouble was that cathode rays could not simply be collected in a cup and put on a scale. implying that they were a form of light. This straight-line motion suggested that they were a stream of small particles of matter. and presumably made up of a stream of microscopic.5 The Electron 31 . Since their mass was not zero. however. they begin spreading out in all directions as soon as they emerge. Other experiments. Light is a wave phenomenon. one does not observe any loss of material from the cathode. then a “shadow” of the same shape would appear on the glass. he showed that they were indeed electrically charged. Light was known to be uncharged.) Thomson’s experiments Physicist J. but he proved that they had mass. m/q. showing that the rays traveled in straight lines. so the next most obvious way of settling the light/matter debate was to check whether the cathode rays possessed electrical charge. they were deﬁnitely matter and not light. or any crust being deposited on the anode. and they were presumably being made to jump the gap by the simultaneous repulsion of the negative charge in the cathode and attraction of the positive charge in the anode.
he was able to ﬁnd the acceleration and thus the mass-to-charge ratio m/q. Knowing the speed (which was on the order of 10% of the speed of light for his setup). The rays pass through a slit in the anode. so with various methods he came 32 Chapter 1 Electricity and the Atom . however. The cathode. a = F/m. At that point. would allow m/q to be determined: known constant m = q a There was just one catch. Felec = (known constant) · q . Thomson needed to know the cathode ray particles’ velocity in order to ﬁgure out their acceleration. The electric force acting on a cathode ray particle while it was between the plates would be proportional to its charge. v= (known constant) (known constant #2) . are as in any cathode ray tube. The basic technique for determining m/q was simply to measure the angle through which the charged plates bent the beam. Charging plates D and E shows that cathode rays have charge: they are attracted toward the positive plate D and repelled by the negative plate E. The magnetic force exerted by a particular magnet would depend on both the cathode ray’s charge and its speed: Fmag = (known constant #2) · qv Thomson played with the electric and magnetic forces until either one would produce an equal eﬀect on the beam. The beam appeared to leap across the vacuum tube practically instantaneously. so it was no simple matter of timing it with a stopwatch! Thomson’s clever solution was to observe the eﬀect of both electric and magnetic forces on the beam. and anode. allowing him to solve for the speed. and a second slit. Application of Newton’s second law. c. nobody had even an educated guess as to the speed of the cathode rays produced in a given vacuum tube. Thomson’s techniques were relatively crude (or perhaps more charitably we could say that they stretched the state of the art of the time).k / Thomson’s experiment proving cathode rays had electric charge (redrawn from his original paper). A. B. is interposed in order to make the beam thinner and eliminate rays that were not going straight.
up with m/q values that ranged over about a factor of two. by observing electrons’ motion in electric and magnetic ﬁelds? Section 1. D Can you guess any practical reason why Thomson couldn’t just let one electron ﬂy across the gap before disconnecting the battery and turning off the beam. The cathode ray as a subatomic particle: the electron What was signiﬁcant about Thomson’s experiment was not the actual numerical value of m/q. but within ten years Thomson’s ideas had been amply veriﬁed by many more detailed experiments. thus allowing him to measure the charge of a single electron directly? E Why is it not possible to determine m and q themselves. and found that m/q was roughly the same in every case. why did it make sense to try different metals? How would the consistent values of m/q test his hypothesis? B My students have frequently asked whether the m/q that Thomson measured was the value for a single electron. Remember that Millikan’s results were still many years in the future. so q was unknown. coming at a time when atoms had not yet been proven to exist! Even those who used the word “atom” often considered them no more than mathematical abstractions. it gave a mass for the cathode ray particles that was thousands of times smaller than the mass of even the lightest atoms. The idea of searching for structure inside of “unsplittable” atoms was seen by some as lunacy. combined with Millikan’s value of the fundamental charge. rather than just their ratio. so much as the fact that. which is consistent with the low end of Thomson’s range. even for cathode rays extracted from a cathode made of a single material. This was an extremely radical claim. and then measure the amount of charge deposited on the anode. The best modern value is m/q = 5. Even without Millikan’s results. Would this imply that the electrons had more charge? Less mass? Would there be no way to tell? Explain. Discussion Questions A Thomson started to become convinced during his experiments that the “cathode rays” observed coming from the cathodes of vacuum tubes were building blocks of atoms — what we now call electrons. Can you answer this question? C Thomson found that the m/q of an electron was thousands of times smaller than that of charged atoms in chemical solutions. however. not literal objects. He correctly interpreted this as evidence that the cathode rays were smaller building blocks — he called them electrons — out of which atoms themselves were formed. He then carried out observations with cathodes made of a variety of metals.5 The Electron 33 . Thomson recognized that the cathode rays’ m/q was thousands of times smaller than the m/q ratios that had been measured for electrically charged atoms in chemical solutions. which were 14 years in the future. considering his limited accuracy. Given his suspicion. or for the whole beam.69 × 10−12 kg/C.
In the neutral atom. The electrons. symmetric arrangement in which all the forces canceled out. This model is clearly diﬀerent from the one you’ve learned in grade school or through popular culture. we’ll see later that an electron can be in more than one place at one time. physicists went ahead and started working out its implications. He related to me how his l / The raisin cookie model of the atom with four units of charge. All four electrons would be repelling each other. mass. l. mechanical models of atoms are still used (for instance the tinker-toy-style molecular modeling kits like the ones used by Watson and Crick to ﬁgure out the double helix structure of DNA). however. a regular tetrahedron. People suﬃciently clever with math soon showed that the electrons in a four-electron atom should settle down at the vertices of a pyramid with one less side than the Egyptian kind. Although there was no clear-cut experimental evidence for many of the details of the raisin cookie model. For instance. The result should be some kind of stable. for instance. Thomson proposed a picture of the atom which became known as the raisin cookie model. For instance. a few of which we will now discuss. that a neutral atom with four electrons is the element beryllium. where the positive charge is concentrated in a tiny nucleus at the atom’s center. scientists at the time did not know how many electrons the various neutral atoms possessed. Today. and could be tacked on or pulled out to make charged ions. sitting in a sphere (the “cookie”) with a charge of +4e spread throughout it. It was known that chemical reactions could not change one element into another. 34 Chapter 1 Electricity and the Atom . which we now know to be beryllium.1. but they would also all be attracted toward the center of the “cookie” sphere.e. were not a permanent feature of the atom. diﬀerent from those of other elements. so in Thomson’s scenario. but scientists realize that the physical objects are only aids to help our brains’ symbolic and visual processes think about atoms. i. Flow of electrical charge in wires example 3 One of my former students was the son of an electrician. and positive charge. but the model also had many successes.6 The Raisin Cookie Model of the Atom Based on his experiments. and had become an electrician himself. and Thomson and his contemporaries never questioned the appropriateness of building a mental model of an atom as a machine with little parts inside.. there are four electrons with a total charge of −4e. This deduction turns out to be wrong because it was based on incorrect features of the model. An equally important change in ideas about the atom has been the realization that atoms and their constituent subatomic particles behave entirely diﬀerently from objects on the human scale. The raisin cookie model was part of a long tradition of attempts to make mechanical models of phenomena. suppose you had a four-electron atom. Although we now know. each element’s cookie sphere had a permanently ﬁxed radius.
this loss of electrons is a self-limiting process. (For objects immersed in air rather than vacuum. entire charged atoms can ﬂow in your nervous system Emission of electrons in a cathode ray tube example 5 Why do electrons detach themselves from the cathode of a vacuum tube? Certainly they are encouraged to do so by the repulsion of the negative charge placed on the cathode and the attraction from the net positive charge of the anode.father had remained refused to believe all his life that electrons really ﬂowed through wires. and that matter cannot normally pass through matter without making a hole through it. It is not surprising that they can slip between the atoms without damaging them. the cathodes are intentionally warmed up with little heater coils. Your body is essentially all liquid. His opinion is not at all unreasonable based on the fact that electrons are material particles. and a few of these collisions are violent enough to knock electrons out of atoms. If this occurs near the surface of a solid object. however. which attracts the lost sheep home to the fold. he reasoned. Flow of electrical charge across cell membranes example 4 Your nervous system is based on signals carried by charge moving from nerve cell to nerve cell. In the raisin-cookie model. however. To encourage the emission of electrons from the vacuum tubes’ cathodes. the metal would have gradually become more and more damaged. How would people have deﬁned the word “ion” before the discovery of the electron? Section 1.6 The Raisin Cookie Model of the Atom 35 . the electrons are very low in mass. Discussion Questions A Today many people would deﬁne an ion as an atom (or molecule) with missing electrons or extra electrons added on. and therefore presumably very small in size as well. If they had. The atoms in any object are therefore violently jostling each other all the time. but these are not strong enough to rip electrons out of atoms by main force — if they were. the loss of electrons leaves the object with a net positive charge. there will also be a balanced exchange of electrons between the air and the object. eventually crumbling to dust. We know that heat is the energy of random motion of atoms. then the entire apparatus would have been instantly vaporized as every atom was simultaneously ripped apart! The raisin cookie model leads to a simple explanation.) This interpretation explains the warm and friendly yellow glow of the vacuum tubes in an antique radio. the electron may can come loose. Ordinarily. Nineteenthcentury physicists would have shared his objection to a chargedparticle model of the ﬂow of electrical charge. unlike the case of charge ﬂowing in a solid wire. and atoms in a liquid are mobile. This means that.
was it possible that the positively charged stuff had an unquantized amount of charge? Could it be quantized in units of +e? In units of +2e? In units of +5/7e? 36 Chapter 1 Electricity and the Atom . Based on the state of knowledge immediately after the Millikan and Thomson experiments. there had to be positively charged subatomic stuff to cancel out the negatively charged electrons in an atom.B Since electrically neutral atoms were known to exist.
.) It therefore makes sense to charge the quantum of charge Summary 37 . . . . . . shown by Thomson to be a stream of particles smaller than atoms electron . . . . e . . . A force such as friction or a “sticky force” arises from electrical forces between individual atoms. and the force would no longer cancel due to the unequal distances. a noncontact force that can be either repulsive or attractive charge . the basic unit of one of the chemical elements molecule . one of the fundamental forces of nature. . . . since any attraction due to one type of charge will be balanced by an equal repulsion from the other. Two charges of the same type repel each other. Just as we use the word “mass” to describe how strongly an object participates in gravitational forces. a numerical rating of how strongly an object participates in electrical forces coulomb (C) . . . . . . . . . . but objects whose charges are diﬀerent attract each other. the unit of electrical charge ion . The object will then tend not to exert electrical forces on any other object. which are at least partially able to move around. . an electrically charged atom or molecule cathode ray . . . . . . There are two types of charge. . . . a group of atoms stuck together electrical force . we use the word “charge” for the intensity of its electrical forces. Charge is measured in units of coulombs (C).Summary Selected Vocabulary atom . . . . Mobile charged particle model: A great many phenomena are easily understood if we imagine matter as containing two types of charged particles. . . Summary All the forces we encounter in everyday life boil down to two basic types: gravitational forces and electrical forces. that can only exist in certain amounts Notation q . . (We say “tend not to” because bringing the object near an object with unbalanced amounts of charge could cause its charges to separate from each other. . describes a quantity. Thomson’s name for the particles of which a cathode ray was made quantized . such as money or electrical charge. . . . Positive and negative charge: Ordinary objects that have not been specially prepared have both types of charge spread evenly throughout them in equal amounts. . . . the mysterious ray that emanated from the cathode in a vacuum tube. . . . . . . . .
In the raisin cookie model. These particles are called electrons. The Coulomb force law states that the magnitude of the electrical force between two charged particles is given by |F| = k|q1 ||q2 |/r2 . This supported the idea the the “ﬂow” of electrical charge was the motion of tiny particles rather than the motion of some sort of mysterious electrical ﬂuid. Quantization of charge: Millikan’s oil drop experiment showed that the total charge of an object could only be an integer multiple of a basic unit of charge (e). Thomson correctly interpreted these as building blocks of matter even smaller than atoms: the ﬁrst discovery of subatomic particles. so that an unprepared object will have zero total charge. Conservation of charge: An even more fundamental reason for using positive and negative signs for charge is that with this deﬁnition the total charge of a closed system is a conserved quantity. an atom consists of a relatively large. massive. Thomson’s experiments with vacuum tubes demonstrated the existence of a new type of microscopic particle with a very small ratio of mass to charge. called the raisin cookie model.describe the two types of charge using positive and negative signs. The above experimental evidence led to the ﬁrst useful model of the interior structure of atoms. 38 Chapter 1 Electricity and the Atom . positively charged sphere with a certain number of negatively charged electrons embedded in it. Einstein’s analysis of Brownian motion was the ﬁrst deﬁnitive proof of the existence of atoms.
Give a numerical Problem 1. Why would the negative charge remain plastered against the inside surface of the membrane. Note that a nutritional “calorie” is √ really a kilocalorie. 4 A neon light consists of a long glass tube full of neon. both the electron and the neon atom (now an ion) have electric charge.Problems Key √ A computerized answer check is available online. with metal caps on the ends. and a layer of positive charge just outside it. because only a tiny minority of neon atoms ever gets ionized. Bottom: A simpliﬁed diagram of one segment of the tail (axon). and likewise why doesn’t the positive charge wander away from the outside surface? 2 Use the nutritional information on some packaged food to make an order-of-magnitude estimate of the amount of chemical energy stored in one atom of food. but even when the cell is resting and not transmitting any information. Neurons serve to transmit sensory information to the brain. considering attraction and √ repulsion. see page 218. where r is the center-to-center distance. When an electron is stripped oﬀ of an atom. This constitutes a rough estimate of the amounts of energy there are on the atomic scale. (c) Compare this with the result of problem 2. which is the type of cell your nerves are made of. All this data is transmitted electrically. (b) Use this expression to estimate the energy required to pull apart a raisin-cookie atom of the one-electron type. (They do not feel any signiﬁcant forces from the other ions and electrons within the tube. and they are accelerated by the forces exerted by the charged ends of the tube. This charge is in the form of various ions dissolved in the interior and exterior ﬂuids. for help on how to do order-of-magnitude estimates. Newtonian Physics. A problem that requires calculus.] 3 (a) Recall that the gravitational energy of two gravitationally interacting spheres is given by P E = −Gm1 m2 /r. there is a layer of negative electrical charge on the inside of the cell membrane.) Light is ﬁnally produced when ions are reunited with electrons. in units of joules. and negative charge on the other. and commands from the brain to the muscles. Assume for simplicity that only one electron is ever stripped oﬀ of any neon atom. Problems 39 . 1 The ﬁgure shows a neuron. Assume that a typical atom has a mass of 10−26 kg. assuming a radius of √ 10−10 m. A diﬃcult problem. What would be the analogous equation for two electrically interacting spheres? Justify your choice of a plus or minus sign on physical grounds. Positive charge is placed on one end of the tube. Top: A realistic picture of a neuron. The electric forces generated can be strong enough to strip electrons oﬀ of a certain number of neon atoms. [See chapter 1 of book 1.
the force of attraction were the result of each having a charge of the same magnitude but opposite in sign. 8 In the semiﬁnals of an electrostatic croquet tournament. It is repelled by two other positive charges. The atoms extend much farther oﬀ in all directions. what is the direction and magnitude of the total force on it? Assume there are no other defects nearby in the crystal besides the two shown here. and an extra lithium atom.] √ 5 If you put two hydrogen atoms near each other. and the crystal shown here has two defects: a missing atom at one location. however. These two equal charges are ﬁxed on the y axis at the locations shown in the ﬁgure. Jessica hits her positively charged ball. you probably don’t understand the fancy model as well as you thought you did!) It’s not so easy to prove that the force should actually be attractive rather than repulsive. since each is electrically neutral? Shouldn’t the attractive and repulsive forces all cancel out exactly? Use the raisin cookie model.) How is this possible. (a) Express the force on the ball in terms of the ball’s position. If. and they will pull together to form a molecule. but if you can’t explain it using a simple model. [Hints: The force on the lithium ion is the vector sum of all the forces of all the quadrillions of sodium and chlorine atoms. are canceled by a force from an ion on √ the opposite side of the lithium. The smaller circles are sodium ions. [Based on a problem by Halliday and Resnick. Nearly all of these forces. If the lithium atom has a charge of +e. (Students who have taken chemistry often try to use fancier models to explain this.] 7 The Earth and Moon are bound together by gravity. instead. with charges of +e. Problem 8.comparison of the magnitudes and directions of the accelerations of the electrons and ions. [You may need some data from page 218. Real crystals are never perfect. so just concentrate on explaining why it doesn’t necessarily have to vanish completely. but only a six-by-six square is shown here. The center-to-center distance between neighboring ions is about 0. (b) At what value of x does the ball experience the greatest deceleration? Express you answer in terms of b. The larger circles are the chlorine ions. x. which have charges of −e.3 nm. (Molecules consisting of two hydrogen atoms are the normal form of hydrogen gas. 40 Chapter 1 Electricity and the Atom .] Problem 6. they will feel an attractive force. 6 The ﬁgure shows one layer of the three-dimensional structure of a salt crystal. shown as a grey circle. inserted in one of the small gaps. which would obviously be too laborious to calculate. rolling to the left along the x axis. ﬁnd the quantity of charge that would have to be placed on each to produce the re√ quired force. sending it across the playing ﬁeld.
That energy could be converted to and from other forms. so sticking or unsticking them would either release or store electrical energy. Becquerel. Up until radioactivity was discovered. 41 . as when a plant uses the energy in sunlight to make sugars and carbohydrates. Atoms exert forces on each other when they are close together. or when a child eats sugar. which were rearrangements of combinations of atoms. and that the atom’s positive charge was concentrated in a tiny. releasing the energy in the form of kinetic energy. central nucleus? The story begins with the discovery of radioactivity by the French chemist Becquerel. Radium’s intense radioactivity made possible the experiments that led to the modern planetary model of the atom. Chapter 2 The Nucleus 2.a / Marie and Pierre Curie were the ﬁrst to purify radium in signiﬁcant quantities. in which electrons orbit a nucleus made of protons and neutrons. all the processes of nature were thought to be based on chemical reactions.1 Radioactivity Becquerel’s discovery of radioactivity How did physicists ﬁgure out that the raisin cookie model was incorrect. Becquerel discovered a process that seemed to release energy from an unknown new source that was not chemical.
he began studying the interaction of light and matter. One of the substances he investigated was a uranium compound. the seepage of chemicals through the paper. whose father and grandfather had also been physicists. so that it must have been some kind of ray rather than. The plate had been carefully wrapped. but several days later when Becquerel checked it in the darkroom before using it. He became interested in the phenomenon of phosphorescence. and this was how he presented it in his ﬁrst published lecture describing his experiments. but not earth-shattering. He was awarded the chair of physics at the Mus´e d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris after the e death of his father.. Interesting. At this point Becquerel still believed that the uranium atoms were absorbing energy from light and then gradually releasing the energy in the form of the mysterious rays. in which a substance absorbs energy from light.b / Henri Becquerel (1852-1908). spent the ﬁrst twenty years of his professional life as a successful civil engineer.” since the eﬀect radiated out from the uranium salt. cloudy weather interfered with his plan to expose this substance to sunlight in order to observe its ﬂuorescence. In the exposure at the bottom of the image. But he then tried to determine how long it took for the uranium to use up all the energy that had supposedly been stored in it by light. The eﬀect could be at least partially blocked by a suﬃcient thickness of metal. Becquerel ﬁrst determined by further experiments that the eﬀect was produced by the uranium salt. and he was able to produce silhouettes of coins by interposing them between the uranium and the plate. Was this a violation of conservation of energy? If the energy didn’t come from exposure to light. but a sample that had been exposed to intense sunlight for a whole afternoon was no more or less eﬀective than a sample that had always been kept inside. he has found that he could absorb the radiations. c / Becquerel’s photographic plate. who had previously occupied it. despite a thick wrapping of paper around the plate that blocked out all light. where did it come from? 42 Chapter 2 The Nucleus . Not only that. and he found that it never seemed to become inactive. coincidentally on top of a blank photographic plate — the old-fashioned glass-backed counterpart of the modern plastic roll of ﬁlm. as if it had been completely exposed to light.. He stuck it in a drawer. but not by any compound that didn’t include uranium atoms. This indicated that the eﬀect traveled in a straight line. Having now a signiﬁcant amount of time to devote to physics. teaching physics on a part-time basis. He used the word “radiations. One day in 1896. casting the shadow of a Maltese cross that was placed between the plate and the uranium salts. then releases the energy via a glow that only gradually goes away. the salt UKSO5 .g. and found that it was the uranium that did it: the eﬀect was produced by any uranium compound. e. He tried a variety of compounds. no matter how long he waited. History provides many examples of scientiﬁc discoveries that happened this way: an alert and inquisitive mind decides to investigate a phenomenon that most people would not have worried about explaining. he found that it was ruined.
betas. Radium: a more intense source of radioactivity The measuring devices used to detect radioactivity were crude: photographic plates or even human eyeballs (radioactivity makes ﬂashes of light in the jelly-like ﬂuid inside the eye. turn-ofthe-century physicists instead studied the behavior of the “radiations” once they had been emitted. which can be seen by the eyeball’s owner if it is otherwise very dark). The dangers of radioactivity to human health were then unknown. and so on through β (beta) and ﬁnally γ (gamma) for the most penetrating type. then. and gammas As radium was becoming available. The vital contribution of physicist/chemist Marie Curie and her husband Pierre was to discover the element radium.) Tracking down the nature of alphas. The technique was essentially the same as the one Thomson had used to measure the mass-to-charge ratio of cathode rays by measuring their deﬂections in electric and magnetic ﬁelds. The young colonial’s ﬁrst success was to measure the mass-to-charge ratio of beta rays. Becquerel had already shown that the radioactivity could penetrate through cloth and paper. They decided that this showed there were three types of radioactivity. further progress was hindered by the fact that the amount of radioactivity emitted by uranium was not really very great. but the remainder was not eliminated by passing through more air. Because the ways of detecting radioactivity were so crude and insensitive. Radium emits about a million times more radioactivity per unit mass than uranium. however. They soon learned that a certain fraction of the radioactivity’s intensity would be eliminated by even a few inches of air. They then found that of the part that could penetrate air. and without having the faintest idea of what they really were. What was left after that. extremely penetrating type. an apprentice scientist named Ernest Rutherford arrived in England from his native New Zealand and began studying radioactivity at the Cavendish Laboratory.Three kinds of “radiations” Unable to determine the source of the energy directly. the radioactivity was a mixture of more than one type.1 Radioactivity 43 . some of whose intensity would still remain even after passing through a brick wall. was a third. of which one was blocked by air. they made up names for them. The least penetrating type was arbitrarily labeled α (alpha). and Marie died of leukemia thirty years later. the ﬁrst letter of the Greek alphabet. a further fraction could be eliminated by a piece of paper or a very thin metal foil. and to purify and isolate signiﬁcant quantities it. Apparently. making it possible to do the experiments that were needed to learn the true nature of radioactivity. (Pierre was run over and killed by a horsecart. The only diﬀerence was that instead of the cathode of a vacuum Section 2. so the ﬁrst obvious thing to do was to investigate in more detail what thickness of material the radioactivity could get through.
The diagram shows a simpliﬁed version of Rutherford’s ingenious experiment proving that they were He++ ions. showing that alpha particles were doubly ionized helium atoms. making it appear that neither was electrically charged. and their descriptions in modern terms: e / These pellets of uranium fuel will be inserted into the metal fuel rod and used in a nuclear reactor. but in modern terms. α particle β particle γ ray stopped by a few inches of air stopped by a piece of paper penetrates thick shielding He nucleus electron a type of light Discussion Question A Most sources of radioactivity emit alphas. it would make sense simply to use the term “electron. Not only was the technique the same. how did Rutherford know that he was studying the alphas? 44 Chapter 2 The Nucleus . was introduced into one half of a double glass chamber. a nugget of radium was used to supply the beta rays. which the gloves are thick enough to stop. Rutherford then determined that it was helium gas that had appeared in the second chamber. The other chamber.” and avoid the archaic “cathode ray” and “beta particle. it seemed that neither alphas or gammas could be deﬂected in electric or magnetic ﬁelds. The nucleus was yet to be discovered. not just one of the three. and were later found to be a form of light. and was able to use it to deﬂect the alphas but not the gammas. He++ (a helium atom with two missing electrons) and H+ (two hydrogen atoms bonded into a 2 molecule. The alphas had a much larger value of m/q than the betas (about 4000 times greater). which suggested they were one and the same. Gammas are uncharged.tube. The pellets emit alpha and beta radiation. To summarize. and it is unfortunately necessary for physics students to memorize all three names for the same thing. The glass wall dividing the chamber was made extremely thin. which was why they had been so hard to deﬂect. but so was the result. an alpha emitter. Beta rays had the same m/q ratio as cathode rays. In the radon experiment. The gaseous element radon. The m/q ratio of alpha particles turned out to be the same as those of two diﬀerent types of ions. Nowadays. which was initially evacuated. But soon Rutherford obtained a much more powerful magnet. with one electron missing). gradually began to accumulate a population of alpha particles (which would quickly pick up electrons from their surroundings and become electrically neutral). At ﬁrst. so that some of the rapidly moving alpha particles were able to penetrate it.” but the old labels are still widely used. Thus alpha particles were proved to be He++ ions. and gammas. betas. here are the three types of radiation emitted by radioactive elements. d/A simpliﬁed version of Rutherford’s 1908 experiment. we would describe a He++ ion as the nucleus of a He atom. so it seemed likely that they were one or the other of those.
A piece of paper has a thickness of a hundred thousand atoms or so.5 × 107 m/s. but if he watched an area farther oﬀ to the side. Typically deﬂected in the gold by only a small amount. they were moving at about the same speed as the electrons in the Thomson experiment. Rutherford (1871- Section 2. watching the apparatus hour after hour and recording the number of ﬂashes with the screen moved to various angles. and had students working under him. For a raw undergraduate named Marsden. After seeing a few of these. a fantastic 1. Here is the ﬁrst example we have encountered of an experiment in which a beam of particles is detected one at a time. they would reach a screen very much like the screen of a TV’s picture tube. Marsden was to work with a gold foil only 1000 atoms thick. By 1909. Marsden sat in a dark room. very fast cannonballs penetrating the “cookie dough” part of the big gold atoms. (The foil was probably made by evaporating a little gold in a vacuum chamber so that a thin layer would be deposited on a glass microscope slide. perhaps even angles larger than 90 degrees. and a thin beam was created by blocking all the alphas except those that happened to pass out through a tube. Rutherford was an established professor. he got the crazy idea of moving the screen to see if even larger angles ever occurred. which would make a ﬂash of light when it was hit.2 The Planetary Model of the Atom 45 . dense lump at the atom’s center rather than the “cookie dough” of the raisin cookie model. and Rutherford’s f / Ernest 1937). g / Marsden apparatus. he would also occasionally see an alpha that had been deﬂected through a larger angle. but crashing through a thousand would only slow them a little and turn them slightly oﬀ of their original paths. they could pass through a suﬃciently thin metal foil.2 The Planetary Model of the Atom The stage was now set for the unexpected discovery that the positively charged part of the atom was a tiny. The rate of the ﬂashes was highest when he set the screen at an angle close to the line of the alphas’ original path.2.) Rutherford had already determined in his previous experiments the speed of the alpha particles emitted by radium. The foil would then be lifted oﬀ the slide by submerging the slide in water. he picked a research project he thought would be tedious but straightforward. A tiny lump of radium in a box emitted alpha particles. which would be suﬃcient to stop them completely. It was already known that although alpha particles would be stopped completely by a sheet of paper. This was possible because each alpha particle carried so much kinetic energy. The experimenters in Rutherford’s group visualized them as very small. Marsden’s supposedly ho-hum assignment was to use the apparatus shown in ﬁgure g to measure how often alpha particles were deﬂected at various angles. but had ten thousand times more mass.
if the alpha particle was very near to or inside of a particular atom. the 1/r2 form of the Coulomb force law would make for a very strong force. if the alpha particle happened to come very close to a particular electron. positively charged core or “nucleus. At this point.” just like the planets orbiting around the sun. moving at such astronomical speeds. On this scale. so all the alpha particles shown here are ones that just happened to come unusually close to the nucleus. in which all the electrons orbited around a small. i / The planetary the atom. but careful calculations showed that such multiple “close encounters” with electrons would be millions of times too rare to explain what was actually observed. Rutherford said.” Explanations were hard to come by in the raisin cookie model.h / Alpha particles being scattered by a gold nucleus. the gold atom is the size of a car. model of The crazy idea worked: a few alpha particles were deﬂected through angles of up to 180 degrees. It was almost as incredible as if you ﬁred a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it came back and hit you. Rutherford and Marsden dusted oﬀ an unpopular and neglected model of the atom. It might be possible in principle for a particular alpha to follow a path that took it very close to one electron. What intense electrical forces could have caused some of the alpha particles. to change direction so drastically? Since each gold atom was electrically neutral. the forces from the electrons are unimportant. and the routine experiment had become an epoch-making one. and then very close to another electron. True. For these exceptional alpha particles. “We have been able to get some of the alpha particles coming backwards. and so on. it would not exert much force on an alpha particle outside it. because they are so much more distant than the nucleus. All the positive charge 46 Chapter 2 The Nucleus . and it is simply not possible for a more massive object to rebound backwards from a collision with a less massive object while conserving momentum and energy. then the forces would not necessarily cancel out perfectly. But Marsden and Rutherford knew that an alpha particle was 8000 times more massive than an electron. with the net result of a large deﬂection.
The few that did come close to a nucleus. and this calculation agreed with the data well enough (to within 15%). not reasons for disbelieving the planetary model. considering the diﬃculty in getting good experimental statistics on the rare. but there is no obvious reason in the planetary model why the radius of an electron’s orbit should be a ﬁxed number. and eventually they should have lost all their energy. As you’ll learn in more detail later in this course.2 The Planetary Model of the Atom 47 . these became fresh puzzles in atomic physics. rather than spread throughout the atom as in the raisin cookie model. the one-electron atom would have to be ﬂat. It turned out that it was not even too diﬃcult to derive a formula giving the relative frequency of deﬂections through various angles. in which certain ideas become accepted by the establishment. and other. there were very sound reasons for rejecting the planetary model. which would be inconsistent with the success of molecular modeling with spherical balls representing hydrogen and atoms. which was why the raisin cookie model. The positively charged alpha particles would be repelled by the gold atom’s nucleus. In the planetary model. Is science really more of a sociological enterprise. with its stationary electrons. These molecular models also seemed to work best if speciﬁc sizes were used for diﬀerent atoms. any charged particle that undergoes an acceleration dissipate energy in the form of light. In view of the conclusive Marsden-Rutherford results. There were other problems as well. but in this particular case. They should have dissipated energy as light.and nearly all the mass of the atom would be concentrated in the nucleus. however. but most of the alphas would not come close enough to any nucleus to have their paths drastically altered. equally plausible explanations are arbitrarily discarded? Some social scientists are currently ruﬄing a lot of scientists’ feathers with critiques very much like this. could rebound backwards from a single such encounter. What had started out as a tedious exercise to get a student started in science had ended as a revolution in our understanding of nature. however. In the planetary model. the whole thing may sound a little too much like a moralistic fable of the scientiﬁc method with overtones of the Horatio Alger genre. very large angles. Section 2. was originally preferred. The skeptical reader may wonder why the planetary model was ignored so thoroughly until Marsden and Rutherford’s discovery. since the nucleus of a heavy gold atom would be ﬁfty times more massive than an alpha particle. the electrons were orbiting the nucleus in circles or ellipses. Atoms don’t spontaneously collapse like that. just like the acceleration you feel in a car going around a curve. Indeed. which meant they were undergoing acceleration.
we have not yet discussed the mathematics and geometry of magnetic forces. Suppose the rules were the other way around. As shown in ﬁgure j. ultraviolet light. an unmagnetized metal. giving repulsion between opposite charges and attraction between similar ones. and so on. In the period immediately following the discovery of the nucleus.3 Atomic Number As alluded to in a discussion question in the previous section. Note that these ﬁgures are all simpliﬁed in several ways. 1. and a magnetized metal. there was an ambiguity as to how to do it. Recall that magnetic forces are forces made by moving charges. a metal diﬀers from a nonmetal because its outermost electrons are free to wander rather than owing their allegiance to a particular atom. not something with any necessary physical signiﬁcance. but don’t underestimate its power. 2. In the case of the very lightest nuclei. Mendeleev’s table just seemed like an organizational tool. and call it the atomic number. 3. perfect model of the atom. these ideas would be diﬃcult or impossible to conceptualize in the raisin cookie model. so even if you wanted to number the elements sequentially with integers. charges of the same type repel one another and charges of different types are attracted. Discussion Question A In reality. scientists of this period had only a very approximate idea of how many units of charge resided in the nuclei of the various chemical elements. What would the universe be like? j / The planetary model applied to a nonmetal. the electrons of an individual atom do not all revolve around the nucleus in the same plane. 2. Even if the planetary model does not immediately answer such questions as why one element would be a metal and another a nonmetal. they simply found the maximum number of electrons they could strip oﬀ by various methods: chemical reactions. but it is easy to see how random orientations of the atoms in the nonmagnetic substance would lead to cancellation of the forces. A metal that can be magnetized is one that is willing to line up the rotations of some of its electrons so that their axes are parallel. metals that are magnetic.Some phenomena explained with the planetary model The planetary model may not be the ultimate. let’s consider the distinctions among nonmetals. For one thing. It is also very unusual for a metal to become so strongly magnetized that 100% of its atoms have their rotations aligned as shown in this ﬁgure. and metals that are nonmagnetic. Although we now associate the number of units of nuclear charge with the element’s position on the periodic table. It already allows us to visualize correctly a great many phenomena. physicists only had rough estimates of the charges of the various nuclei. For example they could easily strip of one or two electrons 48 Chapter 2 The Nucleus . As an example. electric sparks. And everything Mendeleev had done seemed equally valid if you turned the table upside-down or reversed its left and right sides. they had no idea that such a relationship existed. Mendeleev’s original table was in fact upside-down compared to the modern one.
had a mass about 197 times that of hydrogen. so its atomic number was estimated to be about half that. presumably because the nuclear charge of helium was only +2e. involving x-rays. We now know it to be 79. The heavy elements’ atomic numbers could only be roughly extrapolated from the light elements. from helium. l / An alpha particle has to come much closer to the low-charged copper nucleus in order to be deﬂected through the same angle. where the atomic number was about half the atom’s mass expressed in units of the mass of a hydrogen atom.3 Atomic Number 49 . because the more electrons were stripped oﬀ. labeled with atomic numbers. Unfortunately only a few of the lightest elements could be stripped completely. making He+ or He++ . was performed by the young Henry Mosely. and the more strongly the rest of the negatively charged electrons would be held on. or somewhere around 100. which gave consistent results. One set of experiments. during that pointless conﬂict then known as the War to End All Wars. whose scientiﬁc brilliance was soon to be sacriﬁced in a battle between European imperialists over who would own the Dardanelles. Section 2. the greater the positive net charge remaining. Gold. How did we ﬁnally ﬁnd out? The riddle of the nuclear charges was at last successfully attacked using two diﬀerent techniques. but nobody could make He+++ . for example. and now referred to as World War I. Mendeleev’s original table was upside-down compared to this one.k / A modern periodic table.
By analogy. the gold nucleus’ charge is so much greater than the copper’s that it exerts a strong force on the alpha particle even from far oﬀ. In grad school. 50 Chapter 2 The Nucleus . Suppose you perform two Rutherford-type alpha scattering measurements. The area of this ring is called the “cross-section” for scattering at 19-20 ◦ because it is the cross-sectional area of a cut through the pipe. and then one with a copper foil. I worked with a professor whose thesis adviser’s thesis adviser was Chadwick. It’s much more likely that one would have the luck to hit the outer circle. The situation is very much like that of a blindfolded person playing darts. Just as it is impossible to aim an alpha particle at an individual nucleus in the target. the blindfolded person cannot really aim the darts.Since Mosely’s analysis requires several concepts with which you are not yet familiar. and then perform the same measurement at the same angle with gold. Achieving a very close encounter with the copper atom would be akin to hitting an inner circle on the dartboard. which covers a greater number of square inches. to the extent that when he was held in a German prison camp during World War II. An added bonus of describing Chadwick’s experiments is that they presaged the important modern technique of studying collisions of subatomic particles. he managed to cajole his captors into allowing him to scrounge up parts from broken radios so that he could attempt to do physics experiments. but as shown in ﬁgure m. m / An alpha particle must be headed for the ring on the front of the imaginary cylindrical pipe in order to produce scattering at an angle between 19 and 20 degrees. ﬁrst one with a gold foil as a target as in Rutherford’s original experiment. if you measure the frequency with which alphas are scattered by copper at some particular angle. the alpha particle must be heading almost straight for the copper nucleus to get the same angle of deﬂection that would have occurred with an alpha that was much farther oﬀ the mark. It is possible to get large angles of deﬂection in both cases. Chadwick was apparently a little nutty and a complete fanatic about science. Chadwick’s experiment worked like this. you get a much higher percentage for gold than for copper. say between 19 and 20 degrees. and he related some interesting stories about the man. we will instead describe the technique used by James Chadwick at around the same time.
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